5 years Sofia Literature and Translation House
17.01.2021
After 70+ events - workshops, seminar, public discussions and meetings with authors and translators, 3 house repairs in 5 years, residency program with 46 residents from 24 countries, 5 participations in Frankfurter Buchmesse, Sofia Literature and Translation House celebrates its 5th birthday!

The house, a former home and atelier of the prominent Bulgarian painter Nenko Balkanski (1907-1977), opened in 2005 and has been a meeting point for writers and literary translators from Bulgaria and all over the world. Every single day of the year we celebrate literature and the art of literary translation. Not only we are giving ourselves a present for our 5th birhtday - a new visual identity, created by Velina Mavrodinova and Enthusiasm Studio, but we are also sharing with you memorable moments from these 5 years.
 
 

The first visit to the tumble-down house was in the summer of 2014, with Malina Edreva from Sofia Municipality and
Iztok district mayor. We almost fell through the crumbling stairs leading to the second floor. Besides the spider nets,
at the former atelier of the prominent Bulgarian painter Nenko Balkanski (1907-1977) there was nothing but а chest,
a box with oil paints and a monograph on Goethe published in 1932 and signed by Prof Mihail Arnaudov to his brother Dimiter
"with devotion and love. Sofia, 8th March 1932".

The newspaper Sofia Literature and Translation House is published in June 2015, followed by the event series Literary Nasturiciums - comics workshop with Anton Staykov, literary events for children with Zornitza Hristova, Petya Kokudeva and Priscilla Hall, discussion with George Gospodinov.        



  In December 2015 the House welcomes its first international guest - Pierre Mejlak (Malta), published in Bulgaria by ICU Publishing. Pierre is conversing with Dimiter Kotzev - Shosho, Nadezda Rozova and Bistra Andreeva - in a chilly hall, as we solely have an old-school air-heater but the conversation is warm and meaningful.
Тhe beginning of 2016:
Sofia City Council supports Next Page Foundation's idea of establishing Sofia Literature and Translation House at the former home of the Bulgarian artist Nenko Balkanski.
    
  In February 2016 we welcome our very first translator-in-residence - Magdalena Pytlak. During her residency she works on her translation into Polish of the novel Summit by Milen Ruskov: Wzniesienie, 2017, WUJ, Kraków.

Since then the House has hosted 45 international residents from 26 countries.
In June 2016 Sofia Literature and Translation House becomes a member of the European network of international literary translation centers RECIT (Réseau Européen des Centres Internationaux de Traducteurs littéraires). In the following year the network's General assembly takes place in Sofia and after 2 more years Sofia Literature and Translation House's director Yana Genova is the network's president.  


 
 

August 2016 marks the most attended event in the the history of The House. Тhe number of seats for the meeting with one of our residents - Ostap Slyvynsky (Ukraine), are not sufficient and part of the audience perches on the stairs to the first floor.

September 2016: we celebratе the International Translation Day with an exposition dedicated to the translations and translators of Yordan Radichkov around the world. 50 editions in 25 languages from the library of the author's family were displayed, as well as fragments of translated texts and interviews with translators with whom we discuss the (un)translatability of Radichkov.
 
 

  We hosted a writers party on the occasion of the closing of Sofia International Literary Festival in December 2016. Among the guests are Dubravka Ugrešić who did not forget to compain about the plastic flower in the bathroom, Adam Zagajewski who found time to talk with everyone and Will Buckingham who two years later, together with Hannah Stevens, returns to Bulgaria as a writer-in-residence (and yet another two years later reallocates to Sofia).
Bulgarian-German literary translation workshop Vice Versa in the summer of 2017. German translators and their Bulgarian colleagues dive into the depth of their translated texts and discuss the tendencies in both literatures. Тhe masterminds and mentors of the workshop are the magnificent Fedya Filkova, may her rest in peace, and Andreas Tretner.        

  The Transparent Translator was introduced in Bulgaria for the first time in 2017 by Sofia Literature and Translation House.
The invited literary translators translate live the same extract from a literary work, offfering their different versions and translation choices.
The audience is given the opportunity to take a glimpce at the translator's work in action, to take part in a discussion about the translation and to become acquainted with the otherwise invisible literary heroes - the translators. So far we have presented transparent translators with German, Spanish, Czech and Swedish.
In June 2017, as part of the Part of the Translation Collider Project, www.translationcollider.org, we offer an Arabic Translation Slam. Translators to and from Arabic and also translators-in-residence at the House - Khaled Raouf, Srpko Leštarić, Ahmed Mourad, Hayri Hamdan and Ashraf Rady discuss their work, the specifics and experiencing of the literary translation.     
  In the autumn of 2017, in the midst of a financial crisis of the House and its programs, we receive an important recognition for our work - Sofia Muicipality Award for notable achievements in the field of culture for which we were nominated by Bulgarian Translators' Union, a special honor that makes the award even move significant.
During his literary residence in the August of 2019 Farid Ghadami plants strawberries in the yard of Sofia Literature and Translation House. Much to our suprise, they do give fruit in October. And the fruits from his residency stay are an anthology on Bulgarian literature in Farsi and а book about Bulgaria.
 
 


 
 

The first international Autumn Studio for Literary Translation in September 2019. A group of 24 young exceptional translators from different languages worked with experienced mentors for six day. The common care for translation quality and the joy of communicating with like-minded colleagues make the first Studio so memorable.

Autumn Studio for Literary Translation had its second edition in the autumn of last year, unfortunatelly - а fully digital one.

Awarded residents of the House - June 2020:
One of the translations of Andreas Tretner, completed during its residency at Sofia Literature and Translation House, is awarded by Das Haus der Kulturen der Welt - Angel Igov: Die Sanftmütigen, 2019, eta Verlag, Berlin.

Among our award-winning residents throughout the years are Magdalena Pytlak and Helle Dalgård for their translations of George Gospodinov respectively into Polish and Danish, Garth Greenwell is shortlisted for Best American Book Award for his novel What Belongs to You, and Elvira Borman, Magdalena Pytlak, Helle Dalgård, Hayri Hamdan, Peter Krystev, Andreas Tretner and Milena Selimi are nominated for Peroto Literary Awards.
 

  

November 2020:
Read Sofia Foundation donates three of their legendary letter-benches for our cozy yard. They instantly become the local attraction and a favourite site for the neighbours' cats nap.

     
We are grateful to all the smart and talented individuals who shared their expertise and views with our audience at Sofia Literature and Translation House. We are also immensely grateful to our organizational partners - local and international, to all of our former and current collaborators,
volunteers, friends and supporters.


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